Each of our stations can provide a unique habitat for local plants, animals and insects to thrive.
That’s why we are on a mission to create wild gardens. These are areas which have been designed and maintained with nature in mind.
We cut the grass back at our stations just three times a year as evidence suggests even a modest reduction in lawn mowing frequency can bring a host of environmental benefits: increased pollinators, increased plant diversity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a longer, healthier lawn makes it more resistant to pests, weeds, and drought events.
So while it might not look fancy, it’s providing food, a safe home, hiding place or even a sunbathing spot for local animals and insects. What can you spot in our wild gardens?
Where’s your nearest wild garden?
Check out on our network map below what we are doing where - the key in the bottom right hand corner shows which stations have wild gardens and more:
Download a large version of the map
Partnering with the RSPB
The RSPB and SWR have developed an exciting new partnership which plans to transform our stations into hubs for wildlife. Through steps such as planting wildflowers, cutting holes in fences for hedgehog highways and putting up nest boxes, the stations will act as refuges for wildlife in trouble.
In 2014 we created homes for local wildlife such as bats and reptiles at three flagship stations in Surrey: Effingham Junction, Oxshott and Hinchley Wood. Following on from this success, four more stations will be transformed into wildlife-friendly gardens across the south of England: Sunningdale in Berkshire, Havant in Hampshire, Ashurst in the New Forest, and Brading on the Isle of Wight.
The RSPB will also support SWR in their goal to become a biodiversity net positive business by 2030 through everyday activities, such as the management of plants across their stations and depots.
Why not create your own wild garden at home?
Think how many visitors you could have! Why not set aside an area in your garden for nature or introduce a new home for a ladybird, bird or frog? The RSPB, who is one of our partners has some great tips, which can be found on their website here.